By Rev. Isaias Ginson**
ALL the readings for this Sunday seem to point toward mercy and justice, reminding us that in our interactions with others, especially with strangers, we find it difficult to trust.
We are all God’s children, rich or poor, insider or outsider, pure or impure, just or unjust therefore we are invited to be gracious and recognize our shared humanity. It is when we choose to act with compassion and justice that we regain our integrity and value as God’s children.
The Letter of James remains strong and clear: one who claims to have faith in Jesus as Messiah and Lord must live in a way consistent with that faith. When we genuinely trust God’s power and love, we cannot turn our backs on the poor or show favor to the rich based on superficial distinctions.
James is warning all of us about the disconnect – we cannot say we have faith and then act unlovingly without violating our own integrity.
In our Gospel lesson from Mark, the author clearly reminds us to look little deeper to find their significance to early Christians, and their importance for us. God is already present and powerfully active in the world, as seen in Jesus’ miraculous healings and exorcisms; but we must also accept that God’s full restoration of creation – the perfection envisioned by ancient prophets – is yet to come at a time we cannot foresee.
Through that lens, we might view the stories of the Syrophoenician woman and the deaf man as prophetic symbols of God’s power to transform and restore the world’s division and isolation. Jesus moves on, but in an even wider circle beyond his Galilean base.
Here is the Gospel: the power of God is present, among us, and cannot be contained even though it has not yet been fully revealed.
**The Rev. Isaias Ginson is priest of The Episcopal Church. He is currently priest in charge of the Episcopal church of St. Margaret’s in Plainview, NY.
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